What is a maternity package?
If this is your first baby, you’ll be getting a lot of information thrown at you and it can often be overwhelming. A maternity package can make the logistical side of things much easier. Hospitals combine the cost of your stay, the delivery of your baby, and extras into a package price that you can pay for in advance. It also includes essentials like meals, amenities and your postnatal aftercare services.
How do I choose the right package?
When you’re looking at hospitals and the packages they offer, think about the birthing experience that you want to have and prioritise that when making a decision. Some questions to ask yourself might be:
- Do I need a single room or space for a partner?
- Do I have any other layout requirements such as having a bathtub in the room?
- Do I require any specific services, such as a lactation consultant or massage therapist?
- Do I have any dietary requirements?
- Do I want any specific tests carried out when the baby is born?
- Do I want any extra amenities like celebratory meals?
- Do I have a limited budget in mind?
If you can decide what elements are most important to you, it will help you eliminate packages that aren't suitable to your needs.
What is a maternity tour?
A maternity tour is a great way to view a hospital’s maternity facilities and decide if you feel comfortable and excited to have your baby there. Some hospitals offer group tours, and others will offer individual tours, usually when booked in advance. Hospital staff will show you around the maternity ward and the different rooms on offer, and answer any questions you have about the packages and facilities available.
What do I need to do to book a package?
The administration process for booking a maternity package is generally straightforward. Pre-registering for admission is something you can do very early on in your pregnancy, confirming your intention to have your baby with your chosen hospital and giving you plenty of time to get organised. Once you have completed a tour and selected your package, the hospital will walk you through any paperwork and confirm your booking. It is important to remember that babies are unpredictable and childbirth may not always go as you expect. Costs vary between vaginal and caesarean deliveries, and other elements like forceps-assisted birth or anaesthesia can affect your overall package price. You will need to be flexible about this and ensure that you budget for any unforeseen circumstances. If you have any questions about the financial aspect of the maternity packages on offer, the hospital maternity team will be able to go over those with you.
What to bring to the hospital
Packing your hospital bag is one of the most exciting parts of your pregnancy, often accompanied by a realisation that it’s not long before your baby arrives. It is recommended that you include:
- Important documents, including your ID, any booking forms, insurance information and prenatal records.
- Toiletries, including toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, cleanser, shampoo and conditioner, and makeup. Your hospital might provide you with some of the essentials, so check before you pack your own.
- Comfortable sleepwear, such as soft nightgowns or pyjamas and a dressing gown. If you plan on breastfeeding, pack sleepwear with easy access.
- Comfortable clothing, with the same principles in mind. You won’t want to wear anything tight or restrictive, and you may wish to wear specially designed breastfeeding tops to make feeding time easier.
- Slippers or warm socks, as many people find their feet get cold during hospital stays.
- Loose fitting cotton underwear and your preferred brand of sanitary products. Choose pads with heavy absorbance or disposable underwear for added protection.
- Nursing pads for breastfeeding, to prevent milk soaking through your clothes.
- Books and music to listen to during any down time.
- Clothing for the baby. Most hospitals provide clothing for the newborn, but it will be useful to bring along a set of clothes and a swaddle for the baby to wear home.
- Your personal items, such as your phone and charger, wallet, and camera for capturing memories.
What about my partner?
If you want your partner to stay with you overnight, you should expect to pay more for your package. Not every hospital offers this service, so make sure you check before booking anything, and specify as soon as you register that you want a room with space for a lodger. Note that there may not be food provided for your partner, so you will need to confirm this with the hospital and make other arrangements if not. The maternity menu is usually designed around postnatal health and well-being, often including confinement recipes, and is usually not created with partners in mind.
Is there anything else I should consider?
Every hospital will have their own policies and procedures, especially around things like visiting hours and overnight guests. When choosing a maternity package, weigh up all of these factors and decide what is most important to you. Just be aware that any last minute changes like swapping rooms or extending your stay will usually incur an additional cost. However, if you plan in advance and budget for any unexpected surprises, you will find that a maternity package makes your childbirth experience easier to manage.
Article contributed by Josephine Ng, customer relations senior executive at Parkway East Hospital
Todd, N. (2019, January 16) Your Hospital Packing List. Retrieved 14 Mar 2019 from https://www.webmd.com/baby/hospital-packing-list